Head To Head
Log In
The Modern Antiquarian Forum »
John Michell lecture
Log In to post a reply

353 messages
Topic View: Flat | Threaded
5758 posts

Re: John Michell lecture
May 11, 2016, 18:48
,”the 'by chance' factor doesn't work - it was cooked up by someone thirtyish years ago, and it's a convenient get-out, but it's necessary to look closer at the evidence. “

When we do look at the evidence it becomes clear that what the statistical approach highlighted , is that there were problems with the hypothesis . Bob Forrest a mate of Michells played a part in this . When you have the number of sites that would be considered as valid points by ley hunting criteria then you will expect to find lots of examples ”by chance” . That is a basic problem . It applies to any example where random patterns are thought to be meaningful i.e. apophenia .

Michell said “Still , to avoid controversy ,in the following examples of aligned sites in West Penwith the only monuments considered are menhirs ,stone circles and dolmens “ p. 14 TOSOLE .
But when we look at the examples , there are multiple sites that do not fit these categories . Plot the actual number of Neolithic and BA sites then add , stone crosses , boundary stones , rubbing stones ,large stones in hedges etc and you will not only find large numbers of “leys” , some will probably align with the sun on your birthday . What Michell did was to add only those non menhir , dolmen and stone circle sites that fitted with his hypothesis and ignore the rest , this skewed the stats significantly . The men an Tol 1“ley” is not only wrong astronomically ,it only has one monument that fits in with the “menhirs ,stone circles and dolmens” restriction .In effect a ley based on one site . We could include the terminal point ,a possible tumulus as at least being prehistoric but two sites will always align regardless .

“Because, at least in Penwith, many alignments connect certain kinds of sites, and certain ages of sites, and they also follow a certain landscape logic in many cases. So these aren't just random points. “
As in the old cases of leys the Michell points were from Neolithic to medieval .

“This is fundamental. It's a worldview and paradigm issue and, if one chooses to get involved in prehistoric sites, then it's necessary also to overcome the academically-conditioned need to try to fit ancient realities into modern intellectual frameworks.”

Imposing straight lines on a visual representation of the landscape i.e. a map is very modern way of working and thinking . If you are attempting to consider “ancient realities” then using maps ,and measuring distances between sites imposes modern post Mercator external viewpoint .This is exemplified in TOSOLE where some points are not even visible from it’s nearest neighbour .
Creating lines on a map by joining ancient sites (or in the case of the ley hunters anything that takes their fancy gets included including natural sites and relatively modern buildings i.e. churches.) or any category that provides enough points in a given space tells us nothing and is simply to be expected by chance .

“In particular, such modern frameworks posit that there cannot be 'earth energies', therefore there aren't. But the fact that science cannot measure or detect these is its own problem, not a problem for the ancients. “

Nobody said that there cannot be energies that are as yet undetectable . That doesn’t mean that they exist or that there is a connection between ancient monuments and these putative energies . Those that claim to be able to detect these energies can always be tested . And that is the problem ,they either won’t or can’t come up with the goods .

“The randomness hypothesis remains just that - a hypothesis - and it rests, imho, mainly on maintaining a distance from the data and evidence, and also on the support of a meme that claims rationality when really it is based upon an emotional predisposition which, conveniently, is also majoritarian, therefore comfortable to hold. “

It is comfortable and accepted by a majority who have looked at the evidence and data because it has been shown to be wanting in claims for the energies and any connection with ancient sites ,whether they are aligned or not .

“Archaeo-astronomy didn't used to work either, but then there was the evidence.”
The associations of some monuments with alignments towards astro events was noted long before the term appeared . There has been much nonsense written since . The Michell example at Men an Tol being a case in point .It was just accepted and never investigated .
Topic Outline:

The Modern Antiquarian Forum Index